Courtney turned around and the smile fell from her face. It wasn’t Duncan, like she hoped. It was Damien. But he was still a Log 선실, 캐빈 gangster, which was hope that maybe, just maybe, there would be hopes of her returning to Log 선실, 캐빈 too.
“What are 당신 doing here? And how’d 당신 find out where I live?” Courtney demands. The 더 많이 she could learn about what Damien was up to, the 더 많이 she could know about what his best friend, Duncan, was doing also.
“It wasn’t hard to find your address. Duncan keeps all his important papers under his mattress,” Damien answers. This made Courtney think about what all she was sleeping on when she slept in Duncan’s bed. How many ‘important’ papers were there? What papers were appropriately deemed ‘important’ 의해 a gangster? And just how much information did Duncan know?
“You still didn’t answer my question. What are 당신 doing here?” she repeats, crossing her arms, partially to look in control and partially to try to warm her goosebump-covered skin.
They were still standing in the dark corner of the stairwell, at the very top. If 당신 leaned over the freezing railing, 당신 could see thirty flights of stairs winding downdowndown. There were a few uncovered light bulbs lining the walls, but they had never been renovated after the invention of the elevator. Dark patches of wetness seeped down from the roof, staining the concrete walls a greenish color. The smell of mold was so thick in some areas of the 계단 통, 계단 that 당신 could practically taste it.
“I… had to tell 당신 something,” he admits, shuffling his feet but maintaining eye contact. “Just don’t tell Duncan,” he adds in a rush.
Courtney almost rolled her eyes, but decided not to. Instead, she holds her arms out and motions at the damp stairwell. “Would I be here if I could be with Duncan? Besides, he wants nothing to do with me,” she points out.
This time it was Damien’s turn to scoff and roll his eyes. “Doubt it,” he tells her, “In fact, Duncan has been doing literally nothing the past month. He’s been holed up in his room. He even eats his meals in there, if he’s been eating at all.”
“Doubt it,” Courtney retorts, though she felt a pang of remorse in her chest. “Duncan’s the president of your alcohol-smuggling business thing. He has tons to do. Why would he waste time in his room thinking of me? …If I’m what he’s been thinking about.”
“Beats me,” Damien replies, shrugging his shoulders almost to his ears. “Probably he isn’t worrying about it because there are hardly any Racketeers left from the fight. There’s no competition. Also, we’re 긴 양말, 스타킹 up half our supplies for the big load of alcohol for the holiday season. But he’s, like, not the old Duncan anymore.”
“So, what? 당신 came here to make me feel guilty for him ditching me?”
“What? No! I came here to make 당신 a deal.”
“And the deal is…?”
“Check this out,” Damien proposes. He heads to the very corner of the 계단 통, 계단 and lifts a shiny, rectangular, pristine white box off the filthy floor. He lifts the lid, tosses some tissue paper aside, and shows Courtney the most gorgeous dress she has ever seen in her lifetime of extreme wealth.
“Oh. My. God,” she breathes, her eyes hungrily scanning the silk, straps, and shiny material. “May I?”
Damien nods, and Courtney’s hands practically dive into the box. They lift the dress from it’s tiny container and it unfolds right in front of her. “Duncan thinks 당신 look good in red.” The thin straps seemed incapable of holding so many ruffles, folds, and fabric. The red dress was a deep V-neck, scooping down to the very bottom of the bust line. The bust looked like the fabric would be stretched taut once something filled it out. A thick ribbon gathered at the waist, pulling all the material in. A large bow was gathered at the left hip. Below the waist, high-sheen red fabric cascaded down in waves until it suddenly stopped.
“Now I’m guessing this dress isn’t for you, so… what’s the catch?” Courtney asks.
“No catch, just… meet at the 일 n’ Night speakeasy tomorrow night. Tomorrow is 크리스마스 Eve, anyway. Duncan will be there, shipping a huge load of alcohol there for the party,” Damien explains.
“Wait… Duncan will be there? I don’t know if I can do this. He broke up with me, remember? He’d probably hate to see me there.” Even though her 심장 nearly broke in half saying this, it was true. Duncan had ditched her. Why would he want to see her begging for him to take him back, on a night when he was just planning to party and forget about all his problems, no less?
“Courtney, I have been Duncan’s best 프렌즈 since… since preschool. I know how he thinks. And once he sees 당신 in that dress…”
“He’s going to go crazy. I’m not supposed to be there. That’s his part of town. I’d feel too out of place. And I doubt he wants me there with him.”
“Just trust me on this. Wouldn’t 당신 like to see him one last time, if 당신 never see him again for the rest of your entire life? Go out with a blaze of glory, Courtney,” Damien tries to persuade her. He takes the straps of the dress 의해 his fingers and swings it back and forth. He raises his voice a few octaves and sings, “You know 당신 want toooo!”
Courtney smiles wearily and takes the dress back, gently folding it up into the box. “I do want to see him…,” she admits, a slow blush creeping up her cheeks.
“Then come to the party!” Damien exclaims. Courtney gnaws on her bottom lip with her straight teeth, rolling the idea around in her head. She wanted to see Duncan, but if she wasn’t one hundred percent sure he wanted to see her back, what was the point?
“I’ll think about it…,” she 답변 slowly. Damien nods and hands her the box with the red dress in it.
“Okay. But keep this dress in case 당신 change your mind about going. And if 당신 end up not going…,” Damien shrugs his shoulders, “Then 당신 can just keep it anyways.”
Before Courtney had a chance to reply, Damien had slid past her, back into the warm, lighted area of her hallway. Courtney stood, propping the metal door open with her hip, so she could watch Damien’s exit. He rips the ‘Out of Order’ sign off the door, pressed the down button, and walked into the elevator.
“You put up that sign?” Courtney asks just before the elevator doors slide shut.
Damien winks at her.